Malloy (Page 3)
My arms flailed, and my shoulder crashed heavily on the sill. I couldn't move my head, but the rest of my body twisted and shook. The pain in my scalp was explosive. It's not supposed to hurt as much when somebody grabs a big patch of hair, but this felt as if each hair was being pulled individually.
I tried to turn to see what held me. Flashes of all the monsters I'd even seen in the movies played in my mind. The Thing. An American Werewolf in London. The undeed from Creepshow. It had me, whatever monster it was, it had me. And it could eat me or kill me or both.
Then, it spoke.
"You, little one, you're the lucky one tonight."
It was her. The voice. Mrs. Malloy's voice sounded thicker and heavier than I knew it, but it was still unmistakable. "You don't have to come, lucky, lucky," she said. Then she giggled, like a girl with a secret.
Her grip loosened and the skin around my skull relaxed back into place. My head throbbed and my scalp tingled. I turned slowly, my back rolling on the sill.
It was her. But the eyes, usually sharp and cruel, were large and vacant, black dots that reflected nothing. Her lips were colored red with the blood that stained the rest of her face and the shapeless yellow dress that covered her large frame.
"Mrs. Malloy," I whispered. Her hand still rested on my head. I wanted to scream, but I knew she could grab me again, twist me, break me if she wanted to.
"Lucky, yes you are," she said. It was her jolly voice, the one from earlier in the day. The Happy Halloween Voice. She leaned forward and for a moment, I thought she would kiss me with those bloody lips, smear it against my face until all I could smell was copper pennies, copper blood all over me.
"I'm full," Mrs. Malloy said. She wiped her lips with the back of her hand nearly from elbow to wrist. The blood on her arm was dull, even in the moonlight. The arm reached behind her and tugged on something. Something moved behind her, scraping against the rooftop.
"I wanted to take you, saved you for last, came here last," Mrs. Malloy said. She was so close, I could smell her breath. It was rotten, like burned eggs and bad meat.
She pulled her hand ahead. Scraping up next to her was a large cloth bag, bigger than one you'd use in a potato sack race. The shape of the bag betrayed twisted, bulky things inside.
"Only three," she said, "only three. Three because I can't carry anymore. And I'm full, little boy. Too much, too much. Maybe when I come back."
My stomach twisted. I wanted to vomit. I jerked forward and a combination of sickness and fear bounced me backward suddenly until my head had almost cleared the window frame. I thought, amazed, that I had made it back inside. That she couldn't reach.
I reached up to pull down the window, and her arm, the bloody one, reached through and tugged me roughly by the hair. I yelped. She pulled me forward, knocking my head against the top of the frame.
Mrs. Malloy pulled me to her. I looked into her eyes. My reflection wasn't in them. "This is a secret, boy," Mrs. Malloy said, her voice leaden. "Or I will come back. Hungry next time."
She pushed my head back through the window and the force knocked me back off of my bed. I landed roughly on my back, the wind knocked out of me, fear clenching my throat and making it hard to breathe.
I scrambled up, stumbling away from the window, far from the bed.
I locked myself in the bathroom, the upstairs one with no windows, and cried and cried until I could breathe again.
Fear motivated me to never tell my parents about that night. Even when the news came as early as the next morning that Mrs. Malloy was missing, along with three of my fellow students. Krissa Smith. Anthony Nueces. Lisa Lopez. You might have heard about it. It was a few years back, but it was one of the first stories Unsolved Mysteries ever did. They never found Mrs. Malloy or the three students.
The next morning, I found a sponge and wiped the blood from the windowsill. I looked out onto the rooftop, half expecting to be dragged out by my hair. There was no sign that Mrs. Malloy had been there. If she'd left any blood, it had blended into the black rooftop and would be washed away in the next rain.
I slept very poorly that semester and, like a lot of students in my class, was graded leniently because of the trauma they said we'd suffered.
In only a few months, people stopped talking about Krissa, Anthony and Lisa. In a year, people even stopped talking about Mrs. Malloy. There was no real reason to think she'd done anything wrong. She was just as vanished as those kids. Maybe she was just as much a victim, attacked by a transient or kidnapped with the children.
I never told. I didn't want her to come back.
And it took a few weeks, but I did convince my parents to let me sleep in the one bedroom in the house with no windows.